Five of those eight versions are limited-editions, a few limited to 300 pieces and a few to 700. And each of the limited editions is especially for a Japanese merchant, with models such as BEAMS (SBDJ031), the fashionable and trendy Freemans Sporting Club (SBDJ023, 300 pieces; and SBDJ025, 700 pieces), United Arrows (SBDJ032, 300 bits), and Journal Standard (SBDJ033, 700 bits). The SBDJ027, SBDJ028, and SBDJ029 aren’t exclusive to any retailer and aren’t limited by production number. Rather, they are restricted in the sense that they’ll only be made for a limited time. Seiko doesn’t state for how long they will be available.Seeing that five out of eight models are exclusive to Japanese merchants, it should not surprise you to hear that these versions will be exclusive to Japan. One can only hope that this is just temporary and Seiko will offer some of the models abroad – at least the ones which aren’t exclusive to Japanese retailers. Still, it should not be difficult for readers to supply them from their favorite overseas vendors. The Freemans Sporting Club model will go on sale in September together with the remainder after in October 2017. Individuals who know me are aware that I am not a lot of classic watch guy. Though, in my growing maturity, I really do find myself curious in older watches which interest me. I’ve come to discover that I use a sort of rule when it comes to classic timepieces that I am keen on. For the most part, I am only interested in watches that are older that came out throughout my life, which naturally have aesthetic elements and stories that I appreciate. One such watch is the Seiko Sports 100 7A28, which through its roughly 10 year production run premiered in about 40 distinct versions. Keen on owning one for a long time, my fantasy (similar to a box I had to check) came true a couple of months back with the majority of the thanks visiting good ol’ eBay.The Seiko 7A28 is not a particular watch, but is actually a movement. Though watches with the caliber 7A28 movement had the name of their motion in the title of their watch – even though they had additional reference titles as well. For instance the particular model I got is referred to as the Seiko 7A28-7060 in addition to the Seiko SPR025J1 – and seemingly it is remarkably rare (as well as really cool).
Seiko continues to expand its popular “Cocktail Time” line of watches, now introducing a couple of new and attractive limited-edition dial executions apparently based on Japanese cocktails called Sakura Hubuki and Starlight. The original SARB065 Cocktail Time watch was officially sold only in Japan but developed an international following, and Seiko brought it back earlier this year with some new colors and now in the Presage family of watches with the SSA and SRPB models. Those featured some small changes while continuing the interesting radial dial texture of the original, but the overall theme is now broadened with the new Seiko Presage Sakura Hubuki and Starlight Cocktail Time watches, as I suppose we’ll call them.
Seiko doesn’t officially “name” the watches but, as with the “Cocktail Time,” ostensibly allows the public to do so. The Cocktail Time watches largely stand out for their dials (and price), and Seiko is known for well-done dial details particularly in its higher-end models. Just as those introduced earlier this year, the new versions are a classic time-and-date-only model; and a model with a large power reserve indicator on the dial and the date displayed via a sub-dial at 6 o’clock – each available in blue or white for a total of four. The dial textures are meant to reference cocktails by a Japanese bartender in Tokyo’s Ginza area, one Mr. Hisashi Kishi. The blue version is for a drink called Starlight, of course, and the white version is… the other one.
I won’t try to describe the drinks that are the design inspiration (“I shake the cocktail mixer in a special way that I call my ‘Infinity Shake’ to add tiny bubbles that sparkle in the glass…”), but Seiko’s materials do briefly tell us that the dials feature a gloss that is applied no fewer than seven times in a “painstaking process.” I’d like to know more, actually. The blue dial’s finish looks particularly cool to me with a somewhat fibrous, patterned appearance. If you must have a blue dial watch (which it seems everyone must) and are on a three-figure budget, these seem like some good options. The white dial’s texture is also nice with radial waves that from up close look a bit like shallow, ultra-fine guilloché in a cherry blossom (sakura) pattern.
Each version is 40.5mm wide in steel, but the power reserve models (reference numbers beginning with SSA) are 14.4mm thick and the time/date models (SRPC) are 11.8mm thick – the same measurements as the models introduced earlier this year. Some people felt that the original was too thick for a “dressy” watch such as the Cocktail Time is trying to be, but I sometimes like some extra heft for an otherwise simple design as found here and on other Presage models, for instance. Both are water-resistant to 50m (certainly sufficient for spilled drinks), anti-magnetic to 4,800 A/m, and come on a blue or brown calf leather strap.
All versions also have a display caseback where you will see the Seiko 4R57 in the SSA (power reserve) models or the 4R35 in the SRPC models – pretty basic movements, likely with minimal industrial finishing, though Seiko has not provided images for now. Each of these automatic movements operate at 3Hz with a power reserve of 41 hours, offer hand-winding and hacking, and are found in a number of watches in Seiko’s more affordable mechanical ranges. Over the dial is a box-shaped Hardlex crystal – sapphire might have been nice, but would have also been more expensive (particularly in that shape) and Seiko seems to like to save those premium options for the occasional “extra special” limited edition.
Power reserve in blue (SSA361) is the one that stands out to me. People sometimes say that a power reserve indicator on an automatic watch is redundant, but this point is lost on me. It’s more important and helpful on a manually wound movement, sure, but even if one wears the same automatic watch every day and thereby keeps it perpetually wound, how just how much power is left is still relevant – to me, at least. It’s also just fun watching the indicator move as you wind it or knowing that you’ve been at your desk too long by seeing that it has wound down. Further, you can know if the movement is getting close to the end of its power reserve where it might start to be less accurate, especially in more basic movements like this one. Seiko Watches Uae says that the shape of the power reserve indicator’s hand, by the way, is meant to reference a cocktail glass.
The blue models will be limited to 1,300 pieces each and available from November 17, 2017, and the white ones limited to 1,000 and available from January 12, 2018 – according to Seiko’s Japanese language site, so international availability might be different as the brand’s English materials only say “winter.” The Seiko Watches Deals Presage Cocktail Time power reserve models (SSA361 in blue and SSA363 in white) will have a retail price (in Europe) of €550 and the time-and-date (SRPC01 in blue and SRPC03 in white) will have a price of €420 (prices in JPY are ¥60,000 and ¥45,000, respectively). You could easily spend around that, one imagines, for a night hanging out in Tokyo’s Ginza at places like the Star Bar that inspired the watches. seikowatches.com